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Military Times article to help with selection of your first 1911

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Old 06-09-2011, 11:04 AM   #1
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Default Military Times article to help with selection of your first 1911

Article is by Larry Vickers.

Military Times Gear Scout

If you’re about to surrender to the 100-year-old call of John Moses Browning, we’re here to help. You can probably count as many Model 1911 configurations as stars in the sky. So to make sense of all the choices, we enlisted a guy who knows his way around the 1911 like Darrell Waltrip knows his way around Daytona.
As the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta’s primary firearms instructor, Larry Vickers worked in a place that put more than a million rounds a year through 1911s. He’s a founding member of the International Defensive Pistol Association and is a member of the American Pistolsmiths Guild. When he says he’s seen everything that can go wrong with a 1911, I believe him.
This is a good read, it includes large hi-res pictures to show you exactly what they are talking about. Just ignore the commentary at the start of the article and read the meat of the article.
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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Nice find Yunus and a good informational-instructional read at that. Hell after reading that, there should be no more questions on the 1911-A1. Right?


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Old 06-09-2011, 10:32 PM   #3
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A1, I am still working with a 1911 (no A1)

Military Times article to help with selection of your first 1911 - 1911 Forum
Retired LE, M.P., Sr. M.P. Investigator, armorer, F.B.I. Trained Rangemaster/Firearms Instructor , Presently Forensic Document Examiner for D.H.S.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:38 PM   #4
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Good find, good read. Thanks!

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:21 AM   #5
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i pretty much disagree with his initial assessment.

1911s dont have to be pricey to work well. straight out of the box the colts and springfields work well and dont need mods to run. some guns like the ruger sr1911 and kimbers prolly need help but a quality 1911 will run fine and can be had in virtually any config in the 700-1000$ range. for ccw there is nothing more oncealable in a major caliber than a 1911. carrying a glock concealed is akin to walking through a major airport wearing an "i love bin laden" with a IED pic on the back and hoping tsa will leave ya alone...

my disagreements with his assessment

Vickers’ first choice for a base gun is a government-model, carbon steel Colt, Springfield or Caspian frame and slide set. They’ve been making guns the longest and have proven reliable in his experience, Vickers said.

Why avoid stainless? There are so many finishes to protect a carbon steel gun from corrosion that there’s no need to mess with stainless. Most guns with stainless frames have nonstainless parts and the gun won’t match. Plus, stainless steel will gall, or abrade against itself, though Colt solved that problem.

“The way they did it,” says Vickers, “is by adding carbon to the steel. While it won’t gall, it will eventually rust under certain conditions.”
this wasnt a colt specific issue. it is across all stainless guns. stainless only galls on itself when using very similar grades of stainless for the moving parts and not paying attention to which way the grain of the steel is running. the reason gun makers use a carbonized stainless is because it is cheaper than making sure all the parts are coming from different grades of steel with proper grain orientation.

The front strap runs down the frame from the trigger guard. It’s one of the main grasping surfaces, and it’s common to see it roughed up or checkered. Coarse checkering for duty use is 20 lines per inch, suitable for gloved hands (17 lpi shown); while 30 lpi works for carry guns. Hand checkering a pistol is time consuming and expensive, so get it at the factory or pay a gunsmith dearly for it later. Skateboard tape with a strong adhesive is an alternative.
my opinion:

checkering in my opinion turns a front strap into a cheese grater for your fingers for extended shooting sessions. if your concern is losing your grip invest in some rubber grips rather than checkering the metal

When it comes to mags, 1911s are notoriously finicky. Factories save money by providing cheap mags with new guns. Vickers advises that you simply throw away the mag that comes with your gun and get Wilson, McCormick or Tripp mags. If you can’t afford new mags, at the very least, you must get baseplates for your factory mags to help seat them during reloads.
only reason to toss your factory mags is if they dont work. tossing perfectly good mags in my book is foolish at best. ive personally never ever had issue with war surplus or factory mags in my 1911s over the years. if you want bigger mags for capacity reasons go for it but its hardly a must.

To have the greatest choice of sights, look for a slide already cut with Novak dovetails, front and rear. Be aware that although popular, Novak-style sights will loosen eventually. They must be checked and even installed with some Loctite. Fixed rear sights work for everyone except serious competition shooters. Look for a front sight with a roll-pin to prevent any movement. A ledge on the rear sight for one-handed charging looks good on a feature list but is seldom used. Fiber-optics sights work great during the day, but are useless at night. Practical shooters should look for night sights.

Also, have a look at the slide top. Slide top milling and serration will give you some extra front sight height for faster sight acquisition.
for ccw carry guns sights are a big disadvantage. they are a big distraction and potentially hang up on clothing. in my opinion the best ccw sight is the colt new agent trench sights.

Look for one that’s slightly extended for easy manipulation. Ambidextrous safeties are generally meant for lefties. Despite their name, they rarely work or hold up as well when used by righties. If you’re a lefty, Vickers suggests the new Wilson Combat Bullet Proof ambi thumb safety. It’s a novel design machined out of billet steel that is stronger where traditional safeties often fail.

Also, make sure you have no burrs or sharp edges on your safety. Get one that feels good at the shop or be prepared to have a gunsmith take the edges down. Your thumb will thank you.
imo, for ccw i want small low profile safety to prevent snags and prevent the safety being swiped off by body movements. i carried a para P10 for a few years and i wasnt that familiar with 1911 safeties at the time and i would find the safety off in the holster too many times due to the extended safety. this experience drove me to the sig p220 for a very longtime in fear of a AD.

A beavertail is a must-have. The exaggerated horn allows a higher grip without the danger of the slide tearing railroad tracks down the webbing of your hand. Beavertails are often combined with the grip safety into one curved piece of metal. Upgraded designs have a palm swell at the bottom that assures positive activation of the safety.
imo, for ccw another huge no-go is the beaver tail yet more length to hide and more crap to snag up.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:42 AM   #6
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Enjoyed that...thanks for posting...
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:08 AM   #7
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I have $400 in mine, and it does just fine. What is all this tweaking talk? I thought tweaking was for Meth Heads.
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